Secondary attack rates of COVID-19 in diverse contact settings, a meta-analysis
Keywords:COVID-19, household, asymptomatic, SARS-CoV-2, secondary attack rate, contact setting
Introduction: The secondary attack rate (SAR) measures the transmissibility of an infectious agent. The reported SAR of COVID-19 varied in a broad range, and between different contact settings.
Methodology: We conducted a meta-analysis on the SAR of COVID-19 with adherence to the PRISMA guideline. We searched published literatures and preprints in international databases of PubMed and medRxiv, and in five major Chinese databases as of 20 April 2020, using the following search terms: ("COVID-19" and "secondary attack rate") or (“COVID-19” and “close contact”). The random effect model was chosen for pooled analyses, using R (version 3.6.3).
Results: A total of 1,136 references were retrieved and 18 of them remained after screening. The pooled SAR of COVID-19 was 0.07 (95%: 0.03-0.12) in general. It differed significantly between contact settings, peaking in households (0.20, 95%: 0.15-0.28), followed by in social gatherings (0.06, 95%: 0.03-0.10). The point estimates of the pooled SARs in health facilities, transports, and work/study settings were all as low as 0.01. Among all the secondary cases, the proportion of asymptomatic infections was estimated to be 0.17 (95% CI: 0.09 – 0.34). The proportion was higher in households (0.26, 95% CI: 0.12-0.56), than in other contact settings.
Conclusions: The transmission risk of SARS-CoV-2 is much higher in households than in other scenarios. Identification of asymptomatic secondary infections should be enhanced in households.
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